Do you remember in my previous post, Rivera Maya: Magical Tulum, how I was advised not to stop and talk to the vendors as you exit the airport? Well, you are guessing right if you just said to yourself, “I bet she stopped and talked to somebody”, because I did. Let me tell you just what happened.
First, let me start by saying that I am not knocking off anyone’s hustle. A job that pays your bills is always a blessing and I understand that in Cancun and the surrounding areas, tourism employs thousands of people and their job will be to make sure that you, as a visitor, are making purchases.
When you are leaving the airport in Cancun, there are so many “visitor representatives” in the aisle leading towards the exit door. You hear so many of them calling you to stop by their work station, you almost feel bad not obliging. The particular vendor that I stopped to chat with, was offering me discounted tours; my attention was immediately grabbed when I heard the word ‘discount’. This particular representative offered me 2 tours of my choice for a total of $80 USD. Now, if you are like me, you probably were already aware that each tour to visit the main sites (such as Coba and Chichen Itza), have a cost of approximately $75 to $220 USD each. So of course this seemed like a bargain.
The representative explained that I could have these two tours for that price, with the requirements that I visit a five-diamond hotel, the company he was representing is currently building, and which will open in the fall of 2019. The outcome is to try to get you to stay here on a future visit or recommend them to your family and friends, or so he said. It was explained to me that a car would pick me up at my Airbnb and take me to this location, I would get a tour of the construction site and hopefully like what I saw. This sounded like a time-share, which he immediately explained was not. Sounds like a an amazing deal that must be taken advantage of, right?
I agreed to do this and paid for my two tours, one to Coba and the other to Chichen Itza. The next day, someone picked me up as promised, right outside the door of my Airbnb. The driver was pleasant and he drove me to the location, which was approximately 40 minutes away, a bit pass Playa Del Carmen to be specific. I was greeted at the door and told that I was going to enjoy a breakfast buffet at no cost; yay! Freebies. Another representative joined me and explained that they had a few questions for me and requested to see a credit card. A credit card? Really?! They said they were not going to write any information down, but needed to see that I had a credit card on me, just as part of their policy. Weird, but, I complied. The questions asked were about my travel life style. Asking how often and where did I prefer to travel to and my preference for lodging. After about 15 minutes, they introduced me, to yet another representative, who would give me the tour and explain what the membership consisted of. Meanwhile, I had some very delicious breakfast items to chose from and some of the best fresh squeezed orange juice I’ve ever tasted in my life.
After breakfast, I took the tour of the 5 diamond hotel in the works. What do you think? I was in heaven, honestly.
Yes! This is what the rooms of the hotel will look like. After I started to day dream about what a vacation would be like in this place, the representative began to explain how the program works and the many perks that came with staying at their five diamond hotel. I kept thinking how this was such a great bargain, the tours for $80 USD total, free breakfast buffet, amazing orange juice, a potential hotel to stay in on a future trip and so forth. Well, once the tour ended, I was given all necessary information about the costs and down payment needed for this piece of heaven. There were 3 memberships types being offered to me and they all sounded crazy. Are you ready for me to tell you what the down payment and monthly payments are? So, I would need to give a $31,000 USD down payment and do monthly payments of $800 + dollars for the next 20 years with a 12% interest rate. Yes, you read that right, $31,000 down payment and 12% interest rate!!! And the down payment needed to be made on the spot. I am not sure what kind of cash these representatives assumed I was walking around with. I am guessing that this is why they asked at arrival to see a credit card.
After I told him I was not interested in this program, he called his manager over, who was more than willing to give me what he called a discount, and the new down payment would be $18,900 USD. Again, not sure why he assumed I had this type of money on me. So of course, the manager instructed the serving staff to bring margaritas over and tequila shots. They were so good and refreshing too.
After explaining yet again, that 1) I was not interested 2) I did not have that kind of money 3) AND….I was really not interested, he called the general manager, who identified himself as a young 37-year old American. I am guessing it was his way of telling me he could identify with me and talked to me about risk taking. After repeating the above numbers to him 1 through 3, and telling him that I only made this commitment for the discounted tours, he ordered another round of margaritas for me. By this time, I had been in this place for a bit over 3 hours. I was getting really annoyed because I wanted to leave and enjoy the day. After turning down every offer possible and what they called a great 12% interested on a loan for this (yeah, okay), I was told someone would be dropping me off back to my Airbnb.
Prior to me leaving, another representative tried to sell me the same program or membership, as they call it, for a reduced price. Again, I repeated numbers 1 through 3, NOT INTERESTED. Even if I could afford that, it sounded crazy and I would have to fully do my research on such a huge investment.
After finally getting in the car that would take me back, 4 and 1/2 hours had elapsed. I was somewhat very annoyed for having done this to begin with.
Was it worth it? If you throw in the free breakfast buffet, the margaritas, the tequila shots and 2 big tours for $80 USD, I think I would say it was. I would not do it again though, because I like to maximize my time in whatever place I decide to visit. I am sure that with the appropriate research, I could have found these two same tours for a good price, maybe not $80 USD, but it sure would have given me an extra half a day to explore other sites on my own. However, if I was traveling with a large family and they made this offer to me, I definitely would sit through these couple of hours, again, and save on the tours and the breakfast. I learned that the hotel in the making, covers the difference in price of each of the tours they sell through this promotion.
Do you think you would sit through 4 hours of nonsense for 2 tours at $80 USD?
What are your thoughts?